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Old 11-06-2011, 06:14 PM   #1
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Florida Bound on I-75

We will be making our first snow bird trip to Florida after the holidays in our gasser 2003 model 35 ft RV with a toad. As I recall there is a good sized hill (mountain for those of us on the east coast ) just north of Knoxville , with a fairly steep long grade down hill toward Knoxville. Has anyone experienced this grade on a similar sized RV without air brakes, or should we take the longer way around on I-65 toward Nashville ?? Do you have any recommended overnight spots enroute ?
Thanks from a newby !
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:09 PM   #2
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That sounds like Rarity Mountain at the Kentucky Tennessee border.

We have done that many times in our Simba with no problems at all.

The KOA at Corbin Kentucky is the only campground that I know of that is open after November 1 in that neck of the woods.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:15 PM   #3
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You will be just fine on I 75. Just downshift and take it slow. If you feel it is more than you want to tackle, disconnect the toad and drive it up and down the pass separately. Slow and easy!
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:49 PM   #4
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We know the location as Jellico mountain. I have driven the route over the years with 4 different motorhomes; one class C and 3 class A (Gas, Diesel, and gas). The only real problem was trying to climb with the underpowered GM 6.5 Diesel when towing a car trailer. Climbing is just whatever your rig will do best without overheating. Descending is not too bad, but whatever you do, don't ride your brakes. If you can't control your speed with downshifting, then brake from your maximum comfortable speed down to 45 or so, let off, then repeat the process as needed until down. This gives a cooling period between brake applications. Also, when did you last flush and change your brake fluid?

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...Has anyone experienced this grade on a similar sized RV without air brakes, or should we take the longer way around on I-65 toward Nashville ?? Do you have any recommended overnight spots enroute ?
Thanks from a newby !
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:15 PM   #5
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I 75 to Florida..... I dont recall any big hills........ now if you take I 77 thats a different storry lots of big mountains........ I have climbed steep mountains with a gasser with ease....you will have no trouble .... there is nothing steep along 75 to Florida...
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:31 PM   #6
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Jellico Mtn is no problem, either up or down, for either a gasser or a DP. I've done it many times with both, and a toad. Keep your speed under control downhill, there's a couple of sweeping turns best taken at 55 or less. Best fuel stop is Loves, exit 29 in KY. Best price and easy access. Try Fox Run Campground, exit 122, north of Knoxville. Just off I-75 behind the Toyota dealer. BTW, don't drive it on a snowy day!!
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bobb.25 View Post
We will be making our first snow bird trip to Florida after the holidays in our gasser 2003 model 35 ft RV with a toad. As I recall there is a good sized hill (mountain for those of us on the east coast ) just north of Knoxville , with a fairly steep long grade down hill toward Knoxville. Has anyone experienced this grade on a similar sized RV without air brakes, or should we take the longer way around on I-65 toward Nashville ?? Do you have any recommended overnight spots enroute ?
Thanks from a newby !
we use this free allstays website to find free overnight stopping points and campgrounds. for overnight stops, we like to stay at walmarts.

Walmart Store Locations Map - Wal-Mart Guide
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:40 AM   #8
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My 38 foot Gasser had no problems on I-75 from Detroit (Well Taylor) to where I pealed off well past Knoxville. As I recall there is a 5 or 6% grade, fairly long, but it was not a problem for my 8.1L GM Vortec or the Allison transmission.

I do tend to keep it between 55 and 60 less I am behind a slow moving something.. I do recall a slow moving car in front of me somewhere... Don't recall where.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:54 AM   #9
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Jellico Mtn is no problem, either up or down, for either a gasser or a DP. I've done it many times with both, and a toad. Keep your speed under control downhill, there's a couple of sweeping turns best taken at 55 or less.
It took me an hour to climb it with my 35' MH, 454 gasser, pulling a trailer. We were all over the smokeys and only here did it over heat and we had to stop and wait 20 minutes for it to cool down enough to continue (twice). That's one big, long hill.

No problem going down the other side.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:19 PM   #10
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We overnight at Renfro Valley RV park. They have a new section designed for big rigs, 50A FHU. You check-in at the motel/lodge registration office. You should phone them for winter closing date. It is very clean, but sparse grass in the new section.
There is a truck stop before you get to the RV park, rough gravel driveways but easy in/out.

The KOA is a couple miles farther down the highway, atop a steep hill. I disconnected and drove to the KOA to see what it was like. I would not take our 40' 5er up that steep winding drive.

As for Jellico mountain, those are long, steep grades. I start a descent at 55 MPH and when I reach 65, I stab-brake to return to 55. Your speed can get away from you quickly if you don't pay close attention. I'm not discouraging you, just conveying my opinions.

That said, beginning at Indianapolis, the I 65 route to S. Florida is 100 miles longer, and much flatter. I 65 to Montgomery where we take U.S. 231 to I 10. That is my route when bad weather is expected during our flight to warm weather in FL.
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Old 11-11-2011, 03:14 PM   #11
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Thanks Ray, I-65 actually looks good, I could pick it up in Louisville. What kind of road is U.S. 231 south from Montgomery ?
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:56 PM   #12
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Assuming you cross the Ohio river at Cincinnati, there are two routes to I-65: I-71 goes to Louisville where the interstate bridge over the Ohio west of town is closed for repairs - leaving all of the traffic using the downtown bridge and lots of congestion. Alternately, continue south I-75 to Lexington, then west on US-60 to the Blue Grass Parkway; a diagonal route to I-65 at Elizabethtown.

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Thanks Ray, I-65 actually looks good, I could pick it up in Louisville. What kind of road is U.S. 231 south from Montgomery ?
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:11 PM   #13
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We took Hwy 231 from Enterprise, AL to I-10 a few weeks ago. It is a very good route and we will certainly use it again. We continued on I-10 to I-75 and the turnpike to Orlando. Smooth sailing all the way.
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:02 PM   #14
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U.S. 231 is two lane highway, and every time I have driven it, was light traffic. A good RV park is just North of Dothan, AL. Ozark Travel Park. We spent the night there both going and coming back, as it was a days drive from S. Florida, and a days drive from just South of Louisville.
About Louisville area construction; monitor the National Traffic and Road Closure Information website.
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